The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

CCSD Opens New Mental Health Facility

Courtesy of Tony Poole
On Oct. 23, Traverse Academy opened its doors to students. “We really tried to make it a super comfortable place for students to be while they get the treatment they need to get better,” Assistant Superintendent of Special Populations Tony Poole said.

There is a new option in the Cherry Creek School District this year for students struggling with mental health, anxiety, or severe depression leading to suicidal thoughts.

Traverse Academy is a new school being brought to the district in the fall of 2023.

“We wanted this very unique transition wing, where we could slowly transition students back to their home school, while still bringing them to Traverse in the morning, and helping them acclimate back to their home school,” said Tony Poole, Assistant Superintendent of Special Populations, who had the idea during COVID-19.

“At the time, there were 77 facilities on the front range, where we could try to place students who were in severe crisis and by 2019 those facilities had been cut in half. So we were cut down to 36,” Poole said. “And at that time, we were having a hard time getting students in, and now it’s gotten even worse,”

There were few mental health facilities with open spots, as many were at capacity. As of now, there are barely 13 facilities and none with openings to those who are dealing with a significant mental health crisis.

Traverse will provide treatment for students who are diagnosed with a serious mental illness or exhibit other behaviors such as self harm or violence that are indicators of a mental health challenge.

Traverse Academy aims to lead students through many steps towards bettering their mental health and preparing them to eventually be able to move out of the program and back into their home school. With this goal in mind, the facility has been created so it doesn’t seem like a hospital or a doctor’s office in any way.

“We also wanted to make sure that we had enough things in the building where kids that went here didn’t feel like they were missing out on anything back at their home schools,” Poole said.

Creek’s mental health staff are hopeful that Traverse Academy will help students affected by the mental health crisis.

“We’re all kind of holding our breath, hoping that this is going to be a great thing,” School Psychologist Lisa Geisler said. “I don’t think anyone knows the answer to the crisis we’re having in the country or in the state, so we’re hoping this fills some gaps for us.”

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Briana Flores
Briana Flores, Assistant Photographer
Hello, My name is Briana Flores I'm a junior currently at Cherry Creek High School and this is my first year in USJ here at this school. I really enjoy playing volleyball as I'm currently in a league outside of school. I also enjoy listening to music or hanging out with my friends. I'm doing journalism because as the years have gone by I have found much interest in writing and also photography, and I felt like journalism is the perfect match for that. I really like reading articles that are published and finding out crazy information or about something I have never heard of. I like learning about the world and current events as I hope others can enjoy that as well. I am hoping to pursue journalism and psychology in college. 

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